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2020 NFL draft grades: Evaluating the Patriots’ first round performance

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Related: Patriots look to close the gap by trading out of the first round

New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The New England Patriots entered the first day of the 2020 NFL Draft with one first-round pick in hand, but when they were on the clock quickly traded it away. Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and company shipped the 23rd overall selection to the Los Angeles Chargers in return for two selections on Friday: New England received the Chargers’ second-rounder (37th overall) as well as the team’s third-round selection (71st overall).

The Patriots being among the most active trading teams in the league is nothing new, but every move — no matter if it may have been expected — leads to reaction. We have compiled some of them here, broken down by the Pats Pulpit community as well as New England, Los Angeles and a national perspective.

View from the Pats Pulpit community

In our original article about the Patriots trading down, we asked readers to grade the team’s move — and the reactions were somewhat mixed. As of 12pm on Friday, 32% had given the trade a B-grade, with 27% awarding it an A and 18% handing out a C. However, 14% also graded the transaction as a failure from New England’s perspective. The poll, which can still be participated in, looks as follows at the moment:

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots’ trade-down from No. 23?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    A
    (1355 votes)
  • 32%
    B
    (1473 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (774 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (360 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (578 votes)
4540 votes total Vote Now

“Well, I think most of us saw this coming. On a night where there’s basically no trades at all, Bill still trades lol. That said, our 3rd round should be a very interesting one. Potentially our 2nd round might be as well, if we trade up to get two players in the 2nd…” — Please Don’t Retire BB

37 and 71 is fine value. A lot more palatable considering we have a billion picks now so we can move aggressively up or down with no concern.” — Joe T8

Very much relieved. This is a good move.” — tpr04

Not remotely surprised. Deep draft and top guys off the board. I said this morning I thought trade back was real and after seeing no big guys fall it makes sense.” — PatrioticChief

Not good value. 14 spots and just a 3? Should have got a late rounder too. Oh well we all new we were moving down or trading Thuney and I’d rather keep a pro bowl guard.” — Mosi_Tatupu

Pretty solid trade, I guess. There wasn’t really anyone exciting left on the board anyway, but still slightly depressing that we won’t be seeing them get anyone tonight.” — jolink65

So happy. If you go off of Jimmy Johnson Chart the trade is a wash. But that chart is SO OLD. Every chart since then have the Pats winning this trade by a good margin. Great trade. In Bill We Trust” — Striker17

Just as it has been foretold, so it shall be. I’m good with this. I don’t think we’ll see a major shift in the quality of who will be available at 23 or 37. With so many day 3 picks still available, I’m interested in seeing if we package a few up to improve our day 2 positioning.” — Mr. Al Cervik

No surprise at all. Looks like BB sees sone real value in players available in 2nd and 3rd who will be affordable. There will be more trades. Please no dbacks!!!” — rdf63

This is pretty much what I expected lol” — Mindkrak


View from New England

“A good trade? Maybe, but there is absolutely no way to decisively say that just yet. They need to crush Day 2 of the draft before anyone can go there. The trade sets up Friday as the most important team-building day for the Patriots in recent memory. They have five picks in the second and third rounds — 37, 71, 87, 98, 100 — and director of player personnel Nick Caserio said early Friday morning that the volume gives them more flexibility to move around.” — Mike Reiss (ESPN Boston)

“New England has a laundry list of needs this offseason, so they need all the picks they can get. The highest positions of need include quarterback, linebacker, tight end, defensive tackle and kicker. There’s talent in the second round that could provide the Patriots with a starter at any of these positions — including a solid group of tight ends. The Patriots weren’t worried about making the flashy move, and this patient decision should prove to be worth it at the end of Day 2.” — Isaiah Houde (Patriots Wire) [Grade: A]

“The talent level in the 2020 NFL Draft dropped off midway through the first round of the draft. A player the Patriots could have drafted at No. 23 overall is probably around the same talent level as one available early in the second round. So, it makes sense to pick up an additional early third to move down. This also is a deep draft, and the strength of it is in the second and third rounds.” — Doug Kyed (NESN)

“The Patriots need good, young players. Lots of them. In lots of spots. And while they most certainly would have been getting one at 23, they should now get two at 37 and 71. It was the right move.” — Tom E. Curran (NBC Boston)

“This is obviously tough to really determine until after the Patriots make their picks in the second and third round, but New England should be in the market for blue chip, first-round players at this point in time. After losing Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Jamie Collins in free agency, the club should be in the market to add a linebacker they can start long-term. They were able to get on the clock with two highly touted linebacker prospects on the board in Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and LSU’s Patrick Queen. They elected to punt on taking one of those prospects there and ultimately lost out on Murray, who the Chargers selected. [...] In the end, however, New England elected to fill the gap they had in the second round after they traded their lone selection away for receiver Mohamed Sanu around the deadline last year. With this second rounder and additional third, the Patriots will have tremendous flexibility on Day 2 and it’ll be interesting to see if they can improve their grade with the players they bring in.” — Tyler Sullivan (CBS Sports) [Grade: C+]

“The Patriots did well to stock up on Day 2 picks, especially there was no one they liked at No. 23. The hard truth for the Patriots after an offseason exodus is they need to fill multiple holes, so they’re clearly hunting for value here.” — Mike Cole (NESN) [Grade: B+]

“Bill Belichick had the option of making a selection at 23 or moving down, and he found a willing partner in the Los Angeles Chargers and grabbed picks in the second (No. 37) and third rounds (71) instead. The move made plenty of sense for a team that is clearly in transition, with Tom Brady now in Tampa and the prospect of breaking in a young quarterback in Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. Now the Patriots will have plenty of Day 2 ammunition with five picks. They also found their way into the second round, a pick that was lost last season in the trade to pick up Mohamed Sanu. In addition to the two new picks, the Patriots also will select at Nos. 87, 98 and 100.” — Paul Perillo (patriots.com)


View from Los Angeles

“The Chargers made one of the biggest surprise moves of the night when they traded back into the first round to select Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick. The Chargers sent picks #37 and #71 to the Patriots to get back in and find their future leader in the middle of the defense. [...] I would have loved this pick at #37. Since the Chargers traded both their second and third picks this year to go get him, they lost out on a lot of potential value tomorrow, which could have come in the form of a linebacker.” — Michael Peterson (Bolts From The Blue) [Grade: B+]

“The LA Chargers got back in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of nowhere, as they traded for the New England Patriots’ 23rd overall pick. The compensation was the Chargers’ second and third-round picks, a small price to pay for a big jump in draft position. [...] Trying to grade the pick, it was hard to resist the recency bias, as I was still thrilled by Telesco’s bold move. However, the price wasn’t too high, the value at the pick was great and the upside is huge. Murray can become one more star in a Chargers’ defense that is full of them.” — Faustino Felix, Bolt Beat [Grade: A]


National View

“I’m giving the Patriots an incomplete because they traded out of the first round. I’m pretty sure this is going to turn into an A though, because they stayed in the top 40 (moved down to No. 37) while adding another Friday pick (No. 71). Typical move for Bill Belichick.” — Chad Reuter (NFL.com)

“Bill Belichick has long been an advocate of trading back for additional picks and he got good value. The Patriots traded back 14 spots to the second round and picked up an additional third-round pick. New England needs to reshape its roster in a number of areas, and now the Patriots have 13 picks, including five on Friday night. It is smart draft maneuvering by the Patriots: get as many bites at the apple as possible.” — Sheil Kapadia (The Athletic) [Grade: A]

“The Patriots were slated to draft with the 23rd overall pick, but they smartly recognized the depth of talent remaining in this class and made a trade back with the Chargers. They won’t wait long to draft on Friday as they received the 37th overall pick from Los Angeles, and there are plenty of talented guys who they could take. The Pats do receive a bit of a knock, though, as they watched the rest of their division improve — Dolphins got Tua, Jets got blindside protection for Darnold, and Bills got Diggs — while the Pats will take a step back without Tom Brady. Seeing the Bucs land Gronk and a high-level offensive tackle in Wirfs who shouldn’t have been there in the first place can’t feel good for them either.” — Jacob Wayne (Lineups)

“New England was set to make only its second draft pick inside the top 23 since 2012 after flopping out of the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. But instead of selecting a potential quarterback of the future, Bill Belichick decided to defer to Friday. He shipped the Patriots’ first-round pick to the Chargers for their 37th and 71st overall selections. The move recharges the team’s Day 2 draft pool and gives the Patriots more low-cost ammunition to refill a roster that’s been picked apart in free agency. Per Adam Schefter, Belichick is confident the player he wanted at No. 23 will be available at No. 37, which would effectively give the club a free third-rounder. That’s good! But if you’re a Pats fan who came into Thursday night waiting for some semblance of local sports news or a glimpse into the team’s future, well ... at least you got to see Belichick’s wicker collection.” — Christian D’Andrea, Adam Stites, Sarah Hardy (SB Nation)